Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Worse Side of Sports

It used to be a dream of mine to marry a professional athlete. Who am I kidding? I just had this dream last night. So this is a recurring dream. It is a life goal. It is a career objective. Judge me if you want to, but we all need dreams.

So you could imagine my initial excitement about VH1's "Basketball Wives." I thought that finally, I could turn away from the soon-to-be train wreck that is the Housewives of New York City and get a glimpse of the life that I had always thought should really be mine. Keep your Upper East Side condo and your VIP seating at New York Fashion Week. I'll take a house in Miami and court side seats, thank you very much!

However, I quickly found fault with the show and got confused about what Shaunie O'Neal and VH1 are trying to show the viewing public about sports, marriage and the intersection of the two. These things are things I take very seriously. Just take a look at how the show disappoints...

First of all, there are at least 6 women featured on the show. 1 is married. 1 is engaged. 1 has an ex-fiance. 2 are divorced. 1 may or may not currently be an NBA dancer who seems to show no interest in being married to a basketball player or otherwise. That does not a show about "wives" make! The show is more about the failure of marriage in the League than it is about the lives of these women.

Secondly, and this is a consequence of my first issue, there is hardly any basketball. It's really a shame. Not that I am particularly excited to see any of the men affiliated with this show playing. I lost interest in Shaq years ago, and Matt Barnes reminds me of the guys I can see playing at The Rucker every summer. But I wouldn't mind some footage of games, practice, dealing with injuries, watching fathers interact with their families. Without that element, this show could be about any wives. It could be about army wives. It could be about wives of politicians. It could be about wives of media moguls and oil kings. What it actually does become is a show about women with too much time and money on their hands in Miami. Who cares?

Lastly (as I've put a cap on my negativity and criticism in 2010 in an effort to usher more positivity into my life), clearly VH1 is not the place to see love happen. I don't think VH1 execs are fooling themselves into believing that Ray J Norwood is really going to settle down with anyone of the women he's met on the 2 seasons he's been looking for a steady piece of career backside! This is the same network that brought us 3 seasons of Flava of Love and the ridiculously unnecessary I Love New York. Then, in case you didn't know, there were 2 spin offs of that - one featured a guy who lives in his parents' basement looking for a girlfriend and the other featured 2 brothers who were looking for women. Brett Michaels gave love a shot on VH1 with 2 seasons of Rock of Love. There's Tool Academy, Tough Love... VH1 used to be in love with music. Does anyone remember that? It is a joke now to believe 90% of what VH1 calls "reality" programming is anywhere near real. How dare they make the jump from creating C-list celebrities who may or may not have been involved with or interested in musical careers to letting Shaunie O'Neal expose what has got to be the most ridiculous part of the NBA - the residual effects of a lack of common sense in an alternate universe of professional sports. If there needs to be a show about how relationships fall apart, it didn't have to include sports. Seriously.

Even though I would like to be the wife of a professional athlete someday, I have to agree with blogger, Mason Jamal:
... as a man, I can't imagine a more entertaining way to spend my twenties and early 30s than to play basketball, get paid millions of dollars to do so, invest wisely, stay single, protect myself and chase women up and down the rainbow. Star NBA players in their prime, as within any professional sport, are way too fortunate and far too fertile to take chances, let alone get married at such a young age. They're different. They live in an alternate universe of long money, short skirts and even shorter attention spans. Getting drawn into a one vagina vortex of matrimony, for most of them, should not be part of the pre-retirement plan. It's like taking sand to the beach.

So, since I will no longer be watching "Basketball Wives," I do not think the concept is all bad. It had potential, and it gives Shaunie, Royce, Evalyn, Gloria, Jennifer and all their little friends in South Beach something to do with their time. It gives them a chance to be in the spotlight rather than in the shadows of their husbands, boyfriends, ex-fiances, etc. We could only hope that once all the eyes are on them, they do something worthwhile and commendable like fight hunger, raise awareness and money about disease, leverage their affiliation with their significant others to launch their own businesses, demonstrate true partnership with their spouses/significant others, raise children well, be charitable. Bottom line: They've got options!

And just in case someone out there, like me, is obsessed with the family lives of professional athletes - for whatever reason - I recommend watching Kendra on E! The former Playboy bunny presents a much more honest look at being a young wife and mom, married to a professional athlete - NFL's Hank Baskett (Indiana Colts) God, I hope they make it!

That is all. I'm still here utilizing the privilege extended to contribute to this blog. Good day.

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